| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 49 - Page 157 of 179 Index | Zoom | |
"In the process of time" or "at the end of days" (Gen. 4: 3) Cain and Abel brought
their respective offerings unto the Lord. Some particular time is indicated by this phrase.
In Gen. 8: 6 and 41: 1 we have similar words, "the end of forty days" and "the end of
two full years". In all probability it was a sabbath or a set season already established.
Cain's offering was of "the fruit of the ground" which had been cursed, and so links up
with the bloodless covering of leaves which was made by Adam and Eve.
Abel brought "the firstlings of his flock" and the fat thereof. It is important to note
that the word `also' in Gen. 4: 4 should be read with the sacrifice and not with Cain,
"And Abel brought also (that is in addition to a similar offering brought by Cain) of
the firstlings of the flock and of the fat thereof."
The many references to the `fat' in the offerings ordained by God through Moses
(Exod. 23: 18; 29: 13; Lev. 3: 3) and the typical teaching attached to it, make it
clear that our first parents, together with Cain and Abel, were taught of God concerning
the right approach of a worshipper. It is interesting to know that the Septuagint rendering
of Gen. 4: 7 reads:
"Hast thou not sinned if thou hast brought it rightly, but not rightly divided it?".
While the Greek is different from II Tim. 2: 15, the thought is the same. Cain had
not `rightly divided' or appreciated the difference of meaning that lay behind the fruit of
the earth and the offering of the firstlings of the flock. Let us look closer at this verse:
"If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?".
This is fundamental. If mortal and sinful man could `do well', if he could produce a
righteousness that would stand the test of the divine scrutiny, he would need neither
offering nor Saviour. "It thou doest not well", what then? There is nothing that can be
done but rely entirely upon God's mercy, point to the Lamb of God and cry "God be
merciful to me the sinner".
"Sin lieth at the door" (Gen. 4: 7). This phrase is usually interpreted as meaning
`your sin is charged against you and is ready to spring and trap you further'. It is a
gratuitous inference to think that, in the days of Cain and Abel, "to lie at one's door"
could mean "to impute or lay to one's charge". It is far more likely to refer to the door of
the tabernacle (Gen. 3: 24 "placed" = as a tabernacle). The phrase is used repeatedly of
the door of a tent (Gen. 18: 1, 2, 10; Exod. 26: 36; 29: 4, etc.). The word `to lie',
instead of referring to a crouching beast ready to spring, is used of sheep (Gen. 29: 2)
and in Psa. 23: 2, "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures". Finally, the word
`sin" chattah, is translated `sin offering' 116 times (e.g. Exod. 29: 14; Lev. 4: 3).
The words `desire' and `rule over' are the same as those used in Gen. 3: 16.
Gen. 4: 7 therefore should read:
"If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, a
sin-offering coucheth or lieth at the door (of the tabernacle or tent at the east of the